From her signature denim shirts and neatly arranged flowers to her lovable New England charm, Ina Garten is an icon in and out of the kitchen.
Food Network junkies are likely familiar with the Barefoot Contessa’s zest for life (and food), her overflowing garden of herbs and fresh hydrangeas – and let’s not forget about her husband, Jeffrey, who somehow always manages to arrive home just as Ina takes the main course out of the oven. However, Ina Garten’s career spans far beyond days spent in the kitchen of her picturesque Hamptons home.
As if we didn’t already admire the Barefoot Contessa’s cooking expertise and classic words of wisdom, here are five more reasons to appreciate our homegirl Ina:
1. She has worn many hats – not just a chef’s hat!
Believe it or not, this hostess with the mostess got her start in the White House, where she worked on nuclear energy policy in the Office of Budget and Management. In the late 70s, Garten left D.C. in search of a new adventure – she wound up in the Hamptons and eventually became the owner of Barefoot Contessa (a.k.a. the namesake of her cooking show), a specialty food store and essentially her golden ticket to the world of food.
2. She’s soarin’, flyin’…literally.
In a Buzzfeed interview, Ina Garten revealed she got her pilot’s license when her husband, Jeffrey, was serving in the Vietnam War. (I wonder if she thought, “How bad can that be?”)
3. Her hit cooking show was initially rejected by Martha Stewart Living.
According to Good Housekeeping, Martha Stewart rejected Garten’s idea for a cooking show, demanding “all of the pilot tapes that Garten had already recorded by destroyed.” Now, the Barefoot Contessa is in its 24th season on Food Network, and Garten has written 10 cookbooks.
4. She and Jeffrey prove true love exists.
According to The Huffington Post, Ina and Jeffrey Garten met when they were teenagers; Ina was visiting her brother at Dartmouth College when Jeffrey was a student there. The two have been married since 1968 and are practically the definition of #goals. Ina’s most recent cookbook, Cooking for Jeffrey, is dedicated to her husband – I mean, how much cuter does it get?
5. She believes in friends, family and good food.
I have fond memories of watching back-to-back episodes of Barefoot Contessa episodes with my mom. In today’s day and age, it is refreshing and reassuring to be inspired by a TV personality who consistently exudes positivity and passion for what they do. Ina Garten’s long-spanning career as a chef, author and all-around kitchen MVP has brought life, happiness and laughter into households across America.
No matter your taste in food, I think we can each find something special about the Barefoot Contessa and her contagious love for cooking, storytelling and entertaining. Above all, Ina Garten reminds us to keep things simple – and to always have fun doing so.
How bad can that be?
Cover photo: Parade.com
GIF: Spoon University